PlatformE, the fashion technology company enabling on-demand production for top brands, is announcing it has acquired Catalyst AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Cambridge, UK. The deal will see Catalyst AI’s machine learning tools for optimising fashion supply chains bolster PlatformE’s services for efficient on-demand and made-to-order fashion.
Overproduction and waste make the fashion industry one of the largest polluters in the world. Traditional supply chains require brands to guess several months in advance what people are going to buy, and where they will buy. This leads to huge quantities of unwanted items being manufactured. As a result, it is predicted that by 2030 more than 134 million tonnes of textiles will be discarded every year.
PlatformE allows brands to move away from this wasteful system of mass production. Instead, items are produced according to demand, with shorter supply chain times from manufacture to delivery. Since its launch in 2015, PlatformE has worked with leading brands including Dior, Gucci, Puma, Farfetch and The North Face.
PlatformE’s offerings cover three categories: 3D digital product creation for consumer-facing retail experiences; a software platform streamlining e-fashion across the value chain from the product configuration to ordering, production, and logistics; and a global network of digital-savvy factories that are able to produce fashion products on-demand and in record time. Together these services enable brands to shift to a new model of production, operating with as little waste as possible and avoiding monetary losses from excess inventory. The turnaround time from samples to retail can be shortened from many months to less than six weeks.
“Machine learning and predictive technologies have a vital role to play in improving the efficiency of supply chains and moving to less wasteful models of production. The digitalisation of supply chain processes is leveraging data that allows us to reduce uncertainty and improve decision making through every step of the supply chain, from procurement of raw materials to purchase by customers. PlatformE is on the front of this wave, so it is the perfect place for our technology to be applied“, said Catalyst AI co-founder and CTO, Dr. Ahmed Zaidi.
Following the integration process, the founders of Catalyst AI will continue to support the growth of PlatformE’s data science capabilities as advisors on AI.
PlatformE co-founder and CEO, Gonçalo Cruz, said: “We’re delighted to strengthen our capabilities with Catalyst AI’s innovative intellectual property, and will benefit immensely from the team’s expertise and their network of talent in one of the world’s leading data science ecosystems.”
Catalyst AI co-founder and CEO, Raymond Siems, said: “We started Catalyst AI with the mission to bring the latest in AI and data science to industry, which has taken us across agriculture, transportation, finance and many other sectors. Nothing matched the scale of inefficiencies we discovered in fashion supply chains, so we set about building tools to tackle these problems, which brought us into contact with the PlatformE team. Goncalo has an unwavering vision for the future of fashion, and the pace of change is picking up. We’re excited to be part of that journey and unlock a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.”
Ahmed Zaidi, Catalyst AI’s CTO, has been invited to speak at the Reset Fashion event taking place on October 22. Ahmed will present on how AI is changing the fashion industry, from design, to supply chain, and consumer experiences. He will be joined by Gonçalo Cruz, CEO of PlatformE and James Stewart of Burberry, among others.
Please see the Kaizen Institute event website for more information.
Two Catalyst AI co-founders have been recognised with a President’s Pandemic Service Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Raymond Siems and Evan Martin, along with Wilson Griffiths (UI/UX Designer), are responsible for the software and technology behind the HEROES charity, which has provided more than 650,000 items of support to NHS workers across the UK since it was founded in March.
The awards recognise exceptional engineering achievements in tackling COVID-19 throughout the UK. Professor Raffaella Ocone OBE FREng FRSE, Chair of the Academy’s Awards Committee, said “Engineering skills -including innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration- have proved to be of vital importance during the current pandemic. We were delighted that the breadth of nominations for these awards reflected so much of the extraordinary work engineers have been doing.”
Ahmed Zaidi, Catalyst AI’s CTO, was spoke today as one of several leading experts at Sourcing Journal’s exclusive virtual event focussed on Fashion’s Business Model for Sustainability. He was joined by Professor Rebecca Henderson of Harvard University and Morten Lehmann, CSO of Global Fashion Agenda.
Ahmed presented to leading fashion industry executives on the role of data science tools and talent in transforming fashion, from a supply-led recovery to the COVID-19 crisis, to new supply chain models for resilience and sustainability.
London; November 14, 2018 – Thought Provoking Consulting (TPC), a leading specialist retail consultancy with global reach, is pleased to announce its ground breaking partnership with Catalyst AI, a consultancy developing practical applications for AI in the business world.
AI has the potential to transform outdated working practices over the course of next few years and will have widespread application within the Retail industry. We believe this trend will be far reaching and disruptive. That’s why we’ve agreed to collaborate on the development of leading edge ‘AI infused’ solutions to optimise Retail Merchandising and Supply Chain decision making processes.
TPC will be enhancing and extending its proprietary SMART tools through the adoption of a variety of relevant AI and Automation capabilities developed in partnership with Catalyst AI which will equip retailers with state of the art, industry leading capabilities designed to make better and faster business decisions.
Subir Gupta, TPC Co-Founder and Managing Principal said, “As a leading provider of data science enabled solutions for Retail Merchandising and Supply Chain, we are excited to be partnering with Catalyst AI to bring the next generation of AI enabled algorithmic retailing capabilities to market. Our data science enabled pricing, promotion and markdown management solutions have been delivering substantial benefits to retailers for many years.”
He continued on to say, “We are very excited by the incremental benefit opportunity which we will be able to unlock for our clients through enhancing our existing solutions and developing new capabilities via the use of carefully selected AI technologies like image recognition, reinforcement learning and others. We aim to transform the decision making effectiveness of Merchandising and Supply Chain functions whilst simultaneously eliminating low value administrative tasks, enabling teams to focus more time on creative activities which deliver demonstrable bottom line results.”
Raymond Siems, Catalyst AI Co-Founder and CEO said, “The most effective partnerships bring together expertise across different domains and disciplines. We are delighted to partner with TPC to combine our expertise within Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision with their deep knowledge of Retail Merchandising and Supply Chain management. Retail is ripe for innovation led by AI. The sector possesses a wealth of data, thanks to increasingly mature digitalisation efforts, and a wide range of interpretable external signals which can be intelligently harnessed to inform decision making processes that are difficult for firms to manage at scale. We look forward to further enhancing TPC’s portfolio of best-in-class offerings as well as enabling entirely new capabilities and process automation through leveraging our team’s skill sets across many fields of Artificial Intelligence.”
Based in the UK and US, Thought Provoking Consulting (TPC) is a specialist retail consultancy, providing retailers with business advisory services, project and programme management expertise to improve their performance and realise their strategic vision. TPC provides a range of services and solutions in Pricing (incorporating Psychology, AI and Automation), Merchandise Planning, 3D Digital, Business Transformation, Supply Chain and Change Management. TPC are known for its ability to make complex challenges simpler through experience and pragmatism, while always being thought provoking. Read more at us.thoughtprovokingconsulting.com
About Catalyst AI
Based in Cambridge and London, Catalyst AI is an Artificial Intelligence research lab and consultancy led by Raymond Siems (CEO) and Ahmed Zaidi (CTO). Catalyst AI’s mission is to bring the latest in Artificial Intelligence and data science to industry. Working closely with internal teams, Catalyst AI provides AI training, strategic advisory services and end-to-end implementations. Originally spun out from the renowned Computer Science department at the University of Cambridge, the Catalyst AI team is connected to the latest in research through a team of PhDs, postdocs and professors from leading research institutions. Learn more at www.catalystlab.ai
As featured on Consultancy.uk - TPC and Catalyst AI partner to bring AI to retail supply chain
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